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  • Psychology and Behavior in Sport/Exercise x
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Nicholas Stanger, Ryan Chettle, Jessica Whittle and Jamie Poolton

This research examined whether prevalent preperformance (Study 1) and in-game (Study 2) emotions were associated with cognitive interference (i.e., thoughts of escape, task-irrelevant thoughts, and performance worries) and whether any effects were moderated by reappraisal and self-confidence. In Study 1, team-sport players’ preperformance anxiety positively, and excitement negatively, predicted cognitive interference during a competitive match. However, no moderating effects for reappraisal or confidence were revealed. In Study 2, badminton players’ in-game anxiety, dejection, and happiness positively predicted, whereas excitement negatively predicted, cognitive interference during a competitive match. Moreover, reappraisal and confidence moderated the relationships of excitement and happiness with task-irrelevant thoughts. The findings underscore the role that preperformance and in-game emotions can play in athletes’ thought processing during sport performance, as well as highlighting the importance of considering the effects of self-confidence and reappraisal on the role of in-game emotions in cognitive interference.

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Janaina Lima Fogaca, Sam J. Zizzi and Mark B. Andersen

There is limited evidence for what characteristics of supervision delivery facilitate novice supervisees’ development. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between supervision-delivery approaches and the perceptions of service-delivery competence development in novice practitioners. The authors interviewed 9 supervisor–supervisee dyads before and after the academic term in which the supervisees had their first applied experiences. Supervisees also completed reflective journal entries regarding their supervisory experiences and development. Data analysis included constant comparative analysis and triangulation of qualitative results with a practitioner-skills inventory. Different approaches to supervision delivery seemed to contribute similarly to novice supervisees’ development. Supervisees developed in more areas when the dyads had consistent meetings, close supervisory relationships, feedback, and frequent opportunities for self-reflection and when supervisors adapted the delivery to the supervisees’ developmental levels. In addition, factors in supervisees’ background, practice, and supervision that contributed to perceptions of service-delivery competence are discussed.

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Stewart Cotterill

While there have been increasing opportunities for sport psychology practitioners in cricket, there are concerns regarding employment practices in the field and the knock-on impact on the practitioners. The aim of this research was to explore the experiences, reflections, challenges, and opportunities perceived by practitioners regarding their own roles delivering sport psychology in elite cricket. Participants were 12 sport psychology practitioners (8 male and 4 female) purposively selected based on their experience working in cricket. Participants were interviewed to gain an understanding of their experiences working as sport psychology practitioners. The data were thematically analyzed, resulting in the emergence of 7 higher order themes: the role, perceptions of the psychologist, consultation approach, limiting factors, first-team environment, challenges faced, and proposed changes. Results suggest that there are similarities in the challenges experienced across professional clubs and at different levels in cricket. Broader challenges for the clubs, the national governing body, and the sport psychology profession also emerged.

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Behrouz Abdoli, James Hardy, Javad F. Riyahi and Alireza Farsi

Empirical literature addressing the effectiveness of self-talk for expert performers is lacking. We addressed this shortcoming within the existent literature and examined the comparative effects of instructional and motivational self-talk on basketball free throw shooting accuracy and salient movement kinematics. We recruited 20 professional basketball players to participate in a 2 × 2 pre/post-test experiment. Free throw accuracy and movement patterns were recorded, with the latter subsequently used to calculate elbow–wrist coordination variability. Results indicated superior shooting accuracy and reduced movement coordination variability for instructional self-talk compared to baseline conditions, whereas no differences emerged for motivational self-talk. Findings from the study help practitioners to better guide skilled performers how best to use self-talk; an area in urgent need of further research.

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Alister McCormick, Carla Meijen and Samuele Marcora

This study examined the effects of strategic, motivational self-talk for runners completing a 60-mile, overnight ultramarathon using a randomized, controlled experiment. Data were collected before, during, and after an annual ultramarathon. Twenty-nine ultramarathon runners were randomly allocated to a motivational self-talk group or an alternative control group. A condition-by-time mixed ANOVA indicated that learning to use motivational self-talk did not affect preevent self-efficacy or perceived control. A t-test and magnitude-based inference indicated that motivational self-talk did not affect performance. Nevertheless, follow-up data suggested that most participants found the intervention helpful and continued to use it six months after their research commitment, particularly in endurance events and to a lesser extent in training. Participants continued to use self-talk to cope with exertion, as well as other stressors such as blister discomfort and adverse conditions. Suggestions are offered for future research examining the effects of psychological interventions on performance in endurance events.

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Evangelos Galanis, Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis, Nikos Comoutos, Fedra Charachousi and Xavier Sanchez

This study explored the effectiveness of self-talk strategies on task performance under conditions of external distraction in laboratory and field experiments. In the laboratory experiment, 28 sport science students (M age 21.48±1.58 years) were tested on a computer game requiring attention and fine execution following a baseline assessment and a short self-talk training. In the field experiment, 28 female basketball players (M age 20.96±4.51 years) were tested on free-throwing, following a baseline assessment and a six-week intervention. In both settings the final assessment took place under conditions of external distraction (noncontinuous, sudden, loud noise). Analyses of covariance showed that participants of the self-talk group performed better than participants of the control group. Findings suggest that self-talk can counter the effects of distraction on performance, and indicate that the attentional effects of self-talk is a viable mechanism to explain the facilitating effects of self-talk on performance.

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Alexander T. Latinjak, Marc Masó and Nikos Comoutos

Even though goal-directed self-talk is a key element in self-regulated learning, providing instruction and giving feedback during technical skill acquisition, few studies have explored the specific functions with which it might enhance learning and improve performance. Therefore, immediately after a training session, 32 novice Ultimate Frisbee players (M age = 22.88, SD = 9.71) were asked to report as many self-instructions as they remembered using before task execution, after unsuccessful throws, and after successful throws. A hierarchical content analysis indicated that players used mainly instructional self-talk in all situations. However, instructional self-talk was aimed at technical aspects before their throws; at negative reinforcement, error detection, and technical adjustment after unsuccessful throws; and at positive reinforcement and technical transference after successful throws. Other functions of self-talk were confidence-enhancement and goal-promotion. Overall, we discussed that goal-directed self-talk is a relevant self-regulated learning strategy employed by novice Ultimate Frisbee players when acquiring technical skills.

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Alexander Tibor Latinjak

The aim of this study was to analyze the functions of goal-directed thoughts and the content of spontaneous and stimulus-independent thoughts and mindwandering in a competitive setting and to explore links between different types of thoughts. Therefore, 17 young sport science students competed in a card-sorting task, while their recorded thoughts were collected between trials. Afterwards, the participants classified their own transcripts into different types of thoughts. The results indicated that goal-directed thinking serves a variety of functions, that spontaneous thought content might reflect a series of psychological states and processes relevant for performance, and that the content of mindwandering was idiosyncratic. Moreover, goal-directed thinking increased during competition, whereas mindwandering diminished. Lastly, mindwandering was rarely connected to other types of thinking, whereas the most recurrent connection between thoughts was found between goal-directed and spontaneous thinking.